We knew, going into the trip, that there would be some expensive meals while on Maui. I mean, there are some places that you (apparently) just have to go to if you’re visiting Maui. Fair enough – as foodies, we (most of the time), had no issue dishing out the extra money for some damn tasty food. Here’s a listing of the more expensive places we tried (in no specific order, except Fleetwood’s was definitely my fave!).
Part 2 – The Expensive Restaurants
My favourite restaurant, by far, was Fleetwood’s on Front Street in Lahaina. Damn, that was some awesome lobster risotto! Fleetwood’s is owned by the legendary Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. If you don’t know who Fleetwood Mac is, perhaps you should just stop reading now because I don’t think we can be friends 😉 I had made a reservation online before we had even left, but you can stop at this little hut on the street and make reservations when you’re there.
Fleetwood’s has two floors – the 1st floor is all indoors, with a pub like setting with big comfy booths, tables, a very large wooden bar, beautiful lighting, and of course, a small stage with a live band and a dance floor. Apparently Mick Fleetwood still plays here regularly. While we were waiting for our table on the 2nd floor we enjoyed the live music, and again when were leaving after dinner we hung out for a bit and listened and watched. If I wasn’t so reserved (or if I had more wine in my belly!) I would have loved to join the folks on the dance floor. The music was blues rock – the way to my heart…
The 2nd floor is where we were seated – it is fully outdoors. We were seated under a roof but most of the area is open to the elements. Since it gets dark early on Maui, I would highly recommend sitting outside on this 2nd floor when you come for dinner. The patio has its own bar area, lots of lights, and its own music (you can’t hear the live music from up here).
Unfortunately the lighting was very poor where we were seated, so my photos aren’t that great. Just believe me when I say – you’ve gotta eat here! Service was very friendly, attentive but not too much, and when the guy clearing our table dropped a knife that broke my water glass causing water to go everywhere, he was so sweet… He felt so terrible about the accident and he kept apologizing. However, as a patron of many high-end restaurants, my only thought was that it would have been in their interest to offer us something because of the mishap – perhaps a free dessert or something. I was wet, the table was soaked, and it was an inconvenience for sure. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t want anything for free if it would have to come out of the guys paycheque.
We shared the Crispy Gnocchi for $15 US, with carmelized apples, crispy prosciutto, and a shallot goat cheese cream sauce (OMG). These little bundles of heaven were delicious! Thankfully Y wasn’t a fan of the goat cheese so there was more for C and I to eat!
C and I both ordered the Parmesan Crusted Snapper for $48 US with lobster risotto, goat cheese, mushroom ragout, asparagus, green onion and citrus beurre blanc. Delectable, delicious, to die for… pick every amazing foodie phrase and plug it in here. This was probably the most delicious dish I’ve had in a very long time, and definitely the most memorable of the whole time in Maui. C and I both loved it! There were large chunks of lobster in the risotto and everything was cooked perfectly. The snapper was moist and tasty with that parmesan crust. Wow… go to Lahaina just for this dish!
Y got the ‘Go Your Own Way’ selection – 3 courses for $45 US. She chose the Butternut Squash Bisque to start, the Flat Iron Steak (pictured below) and the Lemongrass Creme Brûlée for dessert. For the price, I think the 3-course meal was really good value. Y liked the soup and the steak but didn’t finish her dessert.
Japengo in the Hyatt at Lahaina is a gorgeous restaurant with a beautiful patio and a great view. We were there too late at night to really enjoy the view of the ocean, but I was impressed with what we could see of the hotel grounds. They couldn’t find our reservations, but thankfully they had a decent table available and were able to seat us after about 10 minutes of trying to find us in the system.
The lighting was horrible for taking photos without flash – the candle’s on the tables were set in blue glass which cast a sickening bluish colour over everything. I apologize that my photos don’t make the food look very appetizing! The menu has a wide variety of appetizers, mains, noodles, and sushi. C and I shared two appetizers and two sushi rolls and were quite literally stuffed.
The Duck Meatballs for $16 were quite flavourful. With garlic, ginger, cilantro, green onions and hoisin, they had an Asian flair. They were very tender – almost melt in your mouth good.
The Curry Dusted Calamari for $19 was not very curry-ish, but it was still really tasty. With harusame noodles, chukka salad and grapes, the dish could have been eaten as a main course dish for one person rather than an appetizer to share. When I look at the photo now, I really think they could improve the plating for this dish. It looks like a home cook made it and simply piled everything on the plate for service.
Now I can’t remember which rolls we had. Both were good – I wouldn’t say they were amazing, but they were good. The rolls all range from $16-$22. Gotta love that blue tinge…
The place was packed – so busy! We had a reservation for 8:00 – the earliest we could get in – but we had nothing better to do so we showed up over an hour early. After half an hour or so of hovering at the bar we were able to fight our way into 3 bar stools and decided just to order dinner there… we were hungry and it was entertaining to watch the mixologist work all evening. There was live music throughout the evening at the front of the restaurant, and there was definitely a lively and fun feeling in the air.
The three of us each ordered the White Walker with aviation gin, crème of coconut, lime, lemongrass-cardamom syrup, and kaffir lime. Unfortunately at $14 US each, these drinks added up throughout the evening!
I had the feeling that I needed to eat some veggies so I chose one of the side salads to start. The server recommended the kale salad with maui onion, golden raisins, mandarin oranges, organic waihe’e macadamia nuts, and miso sesame vinaigrette. I didn’t need a full sized salad for $12.95, so she mentioned they made half sizes of many things on the menu, so I did that. Unfortunately I was disappointed in my salad. It wasn’t near as good as she made it sound, and she actually took it off my bill. I didn’t think it was bad enough to warrant that, but I was impressed with the effort to make me happy!
I ordered the Bourgeois Pizza for $26.95 with big island lobster, hamakua wild mushroom, parmesan, thyme, and garlic white sauce. The pizza crust was awesome, and if you like mushrooms, you’ll probably like the pizza. There was a fair amount of lobster – good sized chunks, but I thought there was too much fresh thyme – it was very overpowering and with the wild mushrooms it was overall too earthy for me.
C loved her ahi tuna dish with jalapeño mashed potatoes and Y loved her gnocchi. My photo of the gnocchi was too blurry to post but it looked so good!
Every foodie that I spoke to before the trip said we had to go to Mama’s. I knew it would be an expensive evening, but it was a really great meal and a fun experience. I was impressed at the size of the restaurant – it’s huge! The woodwork in the room is impressive. The view out the windows is beautiful, and the restaurant even has its own beach. You must use their valet parking, which is okay because the lot is rather small… but make sure you have a bit of cash to give as a gratuity when you leave.
C and I ate two loaves of bread! It was just so good… the little cup of complimentary soup was super tasty. We each only got one glass of wine because of course, the bottles were expensive and I had to drive back to Kihei anyways.
The featured appetizer of the day was raw ahi tuna marinated in coconut milk with cilantro and citrus. It was served with a couple different kinds of deep fried root vegetables – taro root and I can’t remember what the purple one was. The dish was super tasty! Light, fresh, creamy and zingy, we both really enjoyed it.
All fish served at Mama’s is line caught, fresh that day – the name of the fisherman is even on the menu. C got the Opakapaka sautéed with Hamakua mushrooms, garlic butter, white wine and capers for $58 US. It certainly looked delicious and C really enjoyed it.
I got the Traditional Hawaiian platter for $58 US. It came with Mahi Mahi and Kampachi fish and Big Island wild boar, slow-cooked in a ti leaf. The traditional sides included from the right: ahi poke, poi, tomato and smoked salmon salsa and octopus luau. The poke and octopus luau were both tasty. I’m still not sold on poi – I dipped my plantain in it just to make both more edible… poi has a thick and sticky texture that reminds me too much of baby food. We were served the tomato and salmon dish at the luau, and although good in theory, it was another mix of flavours that I could live without. Honestly, the dish is way overpriced for what you get, but that being said, there was a lot of protein on the plate and it was an awesome experience to try a bit of everything.
We were so stuffed at the end of the meal (probably because we ate 2 loaves of bread!) but we couldn’t turn away the featured dessert – coconut cake! We both got a slice to go and oh my, it was worth all the calories! I think I ate it for breakfast the next morning. It wasn’t too sweet and it was truly delicious!
In the end, after the conversion on my credit card, the meal including: one glass of wine, a shared appy, an entree, and a dessert, came out to (drum roll, please!) $169 CAD, including tax and tip. So, if you want to go to Mama’s, be prepared for a big bill… you cannot come here and skimp out on the experience!